Introducing: “Quarantine Kitchen” by Alexandra Morin
OVID-19 brings us back to the kitchen to rediscover the power of the home-cooked meal.
College students, travelers, and displaced workers alike spent months locked behind closed doors, hiding from the anxiety brought about by COVID-19. Some thought it may be weeks before normalcy resumed while others speculated it would be months, even years. Regardless of these predictions, the quarantine period meant “back to basics” for all. Thus the question arises—where did people turn to find sources of amusement while stuck inside?
As a naturally energetic person, I found myself wondering how to fill 24 hours. An entire day can seem like a lifetime when the daily agenda is a pattern of migrating from room to room looking for purpose. The kitchen quickly became my creative haven. While I’ve always had a special affinity with cooking, I finally had the time to generate recipes and perfect them. From classic comforts such as spaghetti bolognese, to my healthy twist on Chinese takeout, the cook book shelved in my mind quickly grew, along with my passion for home cooked meals. Thus, Kwarantine Kitchen was born.
With strict restaurant regulations in place and delivery service delays on the rise, COVID-19 has paved the way for at home eating to regain popularity. With better nutrition, taste, and quality, these simplistic recipes will bring you delicious meals that are fast and affordable. Experimenting with food can express culture, love, and creativity. It is often the best way to understand others and spread joy. The steps provided in this column allow anyone to cook as well as experience the satisfaction of placing a meal on the table for friends, family or just oneself.
It only makes sense to start with pasta carbonara. Glossy strands of linguine gleaming with both the kiss of olive oil and the sheen of silky egg yolk dance in spots of black peppercorn, parmesan, and pancetta pieces. It is a college dream—so delectable and yet ever so simple. With only seven basic ingredients, very little prep, and a short cook time, this powerful Italian masterpiece speaks for itself. Sure to bring your roommates racing home for a hearty dinner or simply put a smile on your face after a long day of school, this minimalistic dish is culinary gold. And best of all, you can make it in under 30 minutes!
7 Ingredient Carbonara (yields 4 servings)
4 whole eggs
1 box of linguine pasta (or other noodle of choice)
1 block (6-8 oz) of parmesan cheese
1 container (4-5 oz) diced pancetta
2 peeled cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Plenty of cracked black pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously.
- While you are waiting for the water to reach a boil, finely dice two cloves of peeled garlic and grate 3/4 or the whole block of parmesan cheese. Set both the garlic and the cheese aside.
- Beat four large eggs in a bowl. Season with your desired amount of black pepper. Set aside.
- Add linguine or your choice of pasta to the now boiling water until al dente (typically 7-9 minutes).
- In a large frying pan, add two tbsp. of olive oil and cook your diced garlic and pancetta together, until the pancetta is golden brown (should take around 4-5 minutes).
- After the pancetta is cooked, reduce the heat to a low simmer and add in the cooked pasta. Make sure to reserve at least a 1/2 cup of the pasta water for later (DO NOT skip this step).
- Mix half of your grated cheese into the bowl you set aside with the whisked egg and pepper mixture.
- Turn off the pan with the pancetta and the pasta.
- Add in your egg mixture to the pan in thirds, pouring and mixing the pasta and you go. It is important that the stove is turned off but the pan is still warm. If the pan is too hot, the eggs will scramble. And if it is too cold, the sauce will not form.
- Add in the desired amount of pasta water as you stir, making sure the sauce is thin enough to coat all of the pasta but still maintain its body. Add in more parmesan to the sauce to thicken and pasta water to thin.
To serve: Use tongs to grab pasta out of the pan and twirl into the dish for serving.
Optional: Add more grated cheese for serving and some sort of green herb for garnish. I typically use whole or chopped basil.
Photos Courtesy of Alexandra Morin / Staff Writer